Amazon is shutting down TestDrive, one of the differentiating features of the Amazon Appstore which allowed consumers to test out new applications ahead of purchase. The feature was introduced back in March 2011 alongside the launch of the Appstore itself, where it then utilized a browser-based emulated instance of Android running in the cloud. This let consumers control an application and experience it like they would on their Android device. The feature later arrived on Android phones, too.
Amazon says that the decision to close the service was based on “a significant decline” in usage, and cited the popularity of “free to play” business models as a factor.
Many of the apps that offered TestDrive were mobile games, as those are generally the kinds of apps that consumers wanted to check out ahead of making a purchase. But game publishers these days tend to generate revenue through sales of virtual goods and other…
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